Leadership

In this post, we’ll discuss 7 metrics that are fit to help any endeavor, of any size elevate and grow forward.

A wise, old man (Joe Rohde) once told me, “where you look is where you go.” This is true in business and life. And it’s really easy to focus on the wrong things, the numbers that don’t matter or map out to our goals. However, it’s just as easy to focus on positive pursuits.

For every new trend, there seems to be a new metric marketed alongside it. Measure what matters we’re told, and then all the marketers get busy BSing you on what matters. The devil is truly in the details here. What bad metric BS beliefs are you buying these days?

If only we were to increase our Klout score, Facebook or Twitter following, we’d be successful right? If you ever rode one of these trendy waves, like social media metrics, you know exactly how full of mighty brown BS they are, and how they end for businesses large and small.

Often times, these “critical metrics” don’t map out to significant insight either professionally or personally.  They can turn out to be a misdirection or part of a great scam or value vacuum.

Many of the “mission critical” metrics also don’t scale down to fit or be relevant to businesses of differing  sizes. And no marketer wants to scare-off potential business by sharing the facts. What works for the enterprise may bankrupt smaller endeavors. The .0001 percent positive return may be accepted as a win for a big company, but can be a huge and crippling loss for a small business. Similarly, a million dollars for a 1 percent performance gain, again may be good for the goose but not the gander. So, how do we help everyone here? What metrics matter to everyone?

If where you look is where you go, what exactly are the right things to look at? Well, we’ve come up with a prioritized list of six metrics that will serve you in business and life regardless of the size of the endeavor. These six will serve you now, in the near and long term, both in business and in life.

  1. Relationships – It’s the people, not the brand, not the project, that are the true golden geese for wealth, abundance and prosperity. Read more
  2. Revenue – Money matters more than hype and hot air.  Read more
  3. Products - Everyone produces something, hardware, software, paper, TPS reports. Products speak for us in our absence and allow us to scale and grow. Read more
  4. Meetings – If you’re like me, the more face time you get, the more business you close and the stronger connections you build. Read more
  5. Fans – People who love you, what you do and want to see you succeed. Facebook fans DO NOT count here. Read more
  6. Traffic – How many people are given the opportunity to have a moment of focused attention on your presence. Read more
  7. TEE (Time, Effort, and Energy) – Where are you pouring your TEE? This is a key metric that will help optimize your processes, evaluate systems, elevate your performance and help you decide the best course of action. Read more

We use these metrics in this order for other projects, systems and productivity tools. Give them a try and see if they work for you.

Track This: The number and quality of face to face meetings you have with people.

Meetings offer opportunities to get belly to belly with people that matter to you. Getting face to face with your customers, partners and your team is certainly better in cases where you want to increase connection, meaning and value. If culture and performance matters to your organization, you need to consider these elements when deciding when, where, why and how often to have meetings.

Belly to belly meetings allow you to do many things including:

  • Build/reinforce rapport
  • Connect and form genuine relationships beyond tasks and agenda items
  • Show respect, regard to valued parties
  • Create an omni-dimensional opportunity to collaborate and make decisions
  • Read body language and other nonverbal communications

If you don’t need these things and an email will suffice, then by all means don’t abuse this tool. However, when you’re measuring what matters in meetings, be sure to account for all of the blessings of getting face to face.

All the technology out there is great but it is also an abstract proxy of a real relationship or connection for the parties involved. Hence, the reason we see so many remote workers being called back into the office.

Technology creates abstraction, distance, disconnection and increased likelihood of insincerity. According to multiple studies, all the wonderful technological terrors we’ve created (video conferencing, social media and so on) actually increase the disconnect and devaluing of people and relationships. For example, people are more likely to be deceptive over video conference than they are face to face because to some extent, the mind sees the person on the screen as an abstraction; that is, more of a cartoon than a human being. I say all this as a technologist. These abstractions continue as things get more digitized, like on social media. People get depressed with pseudo-relationships. They want the satisfaction of a real connection.

Darth Vader put it best, “Don’t be too proud of this technological terror you’ve constructed. The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Force.”

All the technology is great and amazing, but compared to the Force of real connection and getting face to face, it is insignificant. Don’t get me wrong, I love technology. But I am also pragmatic and practical, and I recognize where it serves and where it doesn’t. Don’t let the tech tools replace all your meetings. Recognize and measure what you get from getting belly to belly. Make strategic considerations for all of the benefits of getting face to face vs. phoning it in. This goes beyond achieving the items on the agenda.

Meetings Won’t Help Those Who Don’t Meet to Create Value

Many people try to avoid meetings. I believe this is because they go in without any intent to create value and fail to account for the value created beyond the agenda items. Then they proceed to victimize themselves by thinking the meeting was a waste of time. If rapport, relationships, community and connection building are a waste of time, dollars to donuts your company culture is struggling.

Would you want your congressional representatives to phone it in to a session, or fight on the floor in a rigorous debate? Which do you believe is more effective?

How about your lawyer? When it’s time to put up a defense or resolve a conflict, do you think a skype or hangout session will do?

When you need to inspire your team to perform, to show them that you care and that you are in fact leading, is an email or conference call the appropriate representation and embodiment of your commitment?  STEP IT UP.

My point is, when it matters, people show up. People have face to face meetings. The corollary is also true, many meetings that don’t matter or are unimportant take lesser forms. There are endless useless conference calls and committee sessions that take on a variety of forms. That’s fine, just be honest with yourself and your team about what you expect to get from your meetings. Measure the results and decide what is best for you and your team.

Track This: The number and quality of those people who like you, like what you do, and want you to succeed.

Let’s begin by defining what I mean when I say fan. I’ll give you a hint, it has little to do with social media. A fan is someone who knows you, likes you, likes what you do and wants to see you succeed. This is very different than someone who likes what you say, imagines who you are, and wants to get to know you.

How many people out there fit this description for you and your endeavors? Make a list. Write their names down. It will make you feel good. Include the family and friends (who fit the description of course).  Look next to customers, partners, colleagues and other acquaintances who may fit the bill to finish your list.

Now, for those you considered that were a marginal fit, ask yourself:

  • What would it take to get these people I know to become my fans?
  • How can I invest in them (without selling myself short) and get them to advocate for my growth and success?
  • What role can they play in my growth and success?

You’d be surprised how many fans you can really have, and how effective real life fans are compared to the digital ones. Work on developing these marginal folks into real fans.

The small things matter and the little people can have a big impact on you and your business.

The title of fan is not reserved for only referral partners or business prospects, and I pity the poor souls who limit their thinking to such few categories. Fans are people that come from all walks of life. The friendlier they are and the more they relate to who you are and what you do, the stronger your brand truly is. They are your personal army of advocates. And when a prospect hears your name from the butcher, baker and candlestick maker, he or she is far more likely to contact you. Don’t discount anyone because of their role. You’d be amazed at the level of influence that all the so-called “little” people have in the world.

The  many roles of fans

  • Referral and Recommendation – Those interested in your success will consciously work on your behalf to connect others to you.
  • Spread the Legend – Fans share your stories and tales of epic achievement.
  • Encouragement - It feels good when the grocery store clerk remembers your name and says hello. This is a form of fan and a gift. Don’t underestimate the value of the people who can recharge your batteries and uplift your spirit. The more of these experiences you have, the more effective you can be.
  • Feedback – I’m not talking about advice on your business strategy. I’m talking about basic and more subtle forms of feedback. Do people smile as they shout your name across a building/store or parking lot? If so, this is a good sign. People go out of their way and risk a little embarrassment just to get your attention or say hello. This feels good and boosts your confidence. This is a huge moment.
  • Insight - How many TV shows involve a protagonist who gets insight from a seemingly unrelated source or unrelated topic to solve a profound puzzle? There are many enlightened ah-ha moments that come from seemingly disconnected ideas.

You don’t have to spend money to build fans. Real fans require less and give more than those on social media. Kindness is so quick and easy to give. It requires little preparation or investment. People want to feel acknowledged, have opinions validated, and held in high regard, or at least preserve their egos. Simply saying a person’s name, restating what they’ve shared with you to reflect understanding, and adding something to it go a long way to building a fan that can transform into a referral.

So be generous in giving kindness. Listen, connect, share and be open to receive the benefits of such generosity. It works.

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Admiral Thad Allen, USCG (Ret.) has lead the emergency response efforts in extreme situations that present unique problems that are well outside the traditional disaster response models. Most recently, he led the response to the BP / Deepwater Horizon oil spill and previously led the emergency efforts after the Hurricane Katrina disaster. He is accustomed to working outside the box, going off book, departing from protocol and leading in unfamiliar territory. And, although he’s retired, if called upon, he says he’ll go where he’s needed. He is a bonafide, Heroik Bad-Ass.

His definition of leadership: the ability to reconcile opportunity and competency.

When you’re fishing for a vendor or a good addition to your team, you’re on the lookout for leadership skills. Some Heroik Leadership attributes we believe are worth sharing and looking for include:

  • A dedication to growth and cultivating an adaptable skillset
  • Humility that conveys sensibility and builds trust
  • Leaning into the discomfort of the unknown
  • Embracing allies and advisors who can help on the journey
  • A level of confidence and bravery to face the unknown while being held accountable for results

All that said, there are many false gurus out there in the market place. I once ran into a brand guru who was working with a major enterprise client of ours who said he could look into my soul and pull out things I never knew were there. He was very serious. I don’t mind a little qualitative hocus pocus but he didn’t have an approach reconciled with anything resembling business strategy. The rubber never meets the road. And people hire false gurus everyday – B.S. is a billion dollar industry. Below are some examples of faux leader types.

In life, entrepreneurial and cultural mythology, and Heroik chronicles neglect to tell you all the important stages of self development required before you run off to slay dragons and conquer the world. The facts are that everyone comes ill equipped and most turn around and give up. If you want to succeed you’ll need to pursue life whole heartedly, with a sense of worthiness. People who have a strong sense of worthiness, have a strong sense of love and belonging. The difference between those that have it and those that struggle for it and wonder if they’re good enough is simply belief. People who have a strong sense of love and belonging believe that they are worthy of love and belonging.

The way the whole hearted live. The following tips are based on over 8 years of research by Dr. Brene Brown and are pulled from common traits of those who feel worthy and live with a strong sense of love and belonging. So, how do you achieve worthiness?

People were STARING.  They could have been pointing too, though I didn’t actually see it.  You’d think they’d never seen a home-made sledge stacked high with trash being dragged across the beach before…

So that’s a bit of the cart before the horse, so let me begin again.  Nicholas McGill (lastofthechivalrous) started things off.  Thinking about it, he started way before the actual event, by signing up for the Tough Mudder scheduled for September 2011.  I followed and joined his team as part of my Path To Fitness last year.  Micah and Dave rounded out the team and we all committed to training.  Nicholas wanted to get some team building going, and suggested a Road Trip to Point Reyes.  Micah and I joined in and off we went.

The first step to become Heroik is to cultivate bravery.

Recklessness is bravery to excess. Cowardice is a lack thereof. Much of the world prefers cowards. We believe it’s better to edge a bit towards the reckless side of the bravery continuum as often times, the worst case scenarios aren’t nearly as perilous as the world would have you believe.They’re easier to manage and will work for less. At Heroik, we have a mantra that allows us to Get Heroik each and every day. We remind ourselves to bring our own bravery; to own and control our efforts and outcomes in life. Every challenge we undertake, every project and adventure, the least we can do is to be responsible and courageous enough not to look to others when it is time to get things done, have a good time, share epic experiences and lend a hand. We bring our own bravery, lead by example; get in there and get dirty.

supercharge your self worth

It is an often said but poorly understood notion, that many if not most people in your life will try to discourage, devalue and chip away at your self-worth. Due to toxic patterns, poor upbringings, selfish behavior, and other environmental and psychological factors, the masses try to bring you down. While exploring this subject, I took a deeper look at these things, and decided to share my thoughts as to why people do this, what you can do stop them and yourself from , and how to cultivate and nourish your own sense of self-worth.
What does a healthy sense of self worth get you? A solid sense of self worth can go a long way to helping you earn more money at work, improve personal relationships, and reinforce your ability to  have enough self respect to say “No, I don’t have to”

A  healthy sense of self worth also helps to:

  1. Identify abuse and toxic patterns in your mind and in your relationships with others.
  2. Demand more for your time. This may mean more money, more focused attention, more balanced role in a relationship, or just more.
  3. Empower you with the ability to respectfully decline to do things that you don’t want to do; the power to confidently opt out.

The Book of the Five Rings is a work written by a legendary swordsman and artist, Miyamoto Musashi. Active during what is called the Kyoto Renaissance 1550-1650, Musashi traveled throughout Japan studying many different styles of Martial Arts and many walks of life. He met, studied and conversed with masters and leaders of his day, and with a critical eye and focus on fluidity and effectiveness, he adapted only that which would achieve victory. His style and skill led him to over 60 victories, which is an astounding feat, even for a master in those days.  On October 10, 1643, in an act of purification after sensing a fatal disease,  Musahsi, climbed Mount Iwato in the province of Higo on the island of Kyushu, and began to write The Book of Five Rings. He intended  his work to be a guide for his followers he had trained face to face. In this book, Musashi offers timeless advice on  navigating life, training the mind and defeating an adversary.

Today, The Book of the Five Rings is required reading for Harvard Business students and is of tremendous value to those with sense enough to see beyond material, linear, checkerboard solutions to life’s challenges. Below is an assortment of important lines from the book, along with a few modern thoughts strewn in here and there. As with many works of the East, this isn’t simply a book you read. The knowledge in this book is best captured by taking the time to read, practice, study, re-visit and re-read.

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